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Fishing Planet

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    Rin-Coconut
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    Fishing Planet

    Rating: 2.0 – Poor

    Fishing Planet

    I’ll have you know right off the bat, I am a fan of fishing games, so I did not rate this low for being a fishing game, I rated this low because it is a mediocre fishing game.

    As you can assume from the title, Fishing Planet is a fishing game, and the "Planet" is because you play with other users online. I was very excited when I came across this game. Majority of the fishing games I play are from the 90s and 00s, so I thought it would be fun to check out a much more modern game of the seemingly forgotten genre, and for free on top of that. Sadly though, this is a good example of a good idea being poorly executed.

    Gameplay
    Well this is a fishing game so obviously you fish, but in order to explain the mechanics better we have to examine the bigger picture first, aka, there’s bigger fish to fry. Yes, this game is free, but it also really wants you to spend your real world money on it. You have two different currencies, I will call these credits and coins. Credits are the common money in the game, you can make this money from catching fish. You can earn the coins when your fisher rank goes up a level. Both of these currencies and premium memberships are also available for purchase at rather high prices ($100 for a one year premium pass). You can make your way without ever giving them a single dime, but the game is structured to make that difficult. Only one lake in the game is free to fish in, but despite that you will still need to purchase an advanced license to catch anything worthwhile. Licenses come in both basic and advanced forms and can be purchased with game credits and are offered at various prices and durations (they expire and need to be repurchased). Without a license you wont be allowed to catch any big fish, or any fish at all, and any fish you decide to keep will result in a game credit fine. This makes it difficult because many of the chum fish result in chump change, and the real money is in the bigger catches. You are also not allowed to night fish without an advanced license or you again get fined. The way the game tries to edge you towards giving real world money is how expensive it is to actually play the game. If you want to fish somewhere else you must buy a license, cover traveling fees, and pay money for every day you spend there, for basically every location in the game this will result in you having to spend thousands of game credits and to be a very dedicated player to pay it all off within your limited time there. I know this game is not just a fishing game but is also a simulator game, but emulating such aspects just bogs the game down.

    The game provides you with two ways of fishing, lure fishing and bait fishing. A lot of games are lure based so its an interesting twist to just be able to cast out your line and wait. There are plenty of different baits and lures you can purchase, but many are locked when you begin the game. The fishing is very simple and is honestly rather lackluster. Despite putting so much realism in the reality of travels and hotel costs, the fishing has very little mechanics. Any and all small fish result in an immediate catch, watch the bobber, when it gets pulled hook the fish (very little timing involved), and then you reel in for one second and the fish comes flying to you, even if its at 20 feet away. The bigger fish don’t seem to have any mechanics at all. If I do the same mechanics and movements of other fishing games, the fish just goes farther and farther away, then when I just sit still, or do the opposite of what I do in other games, it comes drifting along to shore without a fight. This game is really missing that sort of turn based aspect of you and the fish, and the careful balance of line tension, angles, and so on. The game provides two modes of tension gauges, the normal one bar version, and the pro version which has three bars. While reeling in a fish you can reel in at different speeds/intensities, move the rod side to side, and pull the rod upwards, but none of this really seems to make much of a difference, it feels pre-programmed if a fish will fly up to you or swim around random directions for 40 seconds before coming to you. I don’t feel as nearly involved as I do in other fishing games, and that’s a reel let down. What I do enjoy about this game though is the ability to float fish with bait, night fishing, and the fact that you don’t see the fish before its caught (I love the surprise). But sadly these things it has going for it can’t make up for the polarized attention to gameplay.

    Now, the game does pride itself on some advanced features regarding the lakes. The locations of the fish are based on realism, so they’ll be in specific locations during specific times of the day, and certain fish will be at higher numbers in specific regions of the lake during the respected time. The weather also affects the fish location, if its hot or cold, the fish will be placed differently. You can always catch the most basic fish, but if you want anything good you’ll have to follow this system to make it easier on yourself and to catch a higher rate of good fish. Casting the wrong lure in the wrong spot at the wrong time will lead to nothing, and so will putting the wrong bait in the wrong spot at the wrong time. If you’re more used to games that aren’t as simulation heavy this can be a curve ball. Also with lure fishing you have to do a lot of casts, but then the float fishing almost always results in a bite (while using more normal bait), there is a noticeable imbalance here.

    While free fishing you can also time jump (each time you go fishing it starts at 5AM). In the starter lake you can time jump whenever you please, but in pay to play lakes you have to wait, and depending on the jump this wait can be as long as 40 minutes. I have no clue why on Fishing Planet they would do this, but it can be avoided by leaving the lake entirely and going back in, which results in loading screens and eating up your time, and is just a pain.

    During free fishing the online play serves no purpose really, but you can join online competitions. Competitions always take place at pay to play lakes, and are of the typical fishing game challenges, such as catch the biggest striped bass, or have the greatest total weight, and so on.

    Menus And Glitches
    There is a tremendous variety of items for you to buy using your credits, coins, and real world money. Majority of these items come locked and need to be unlocked, and some can only be purchased with coins. Of course you have your licenses, but you also have rods, reels, line, a ton of lures and baits, gear, boats, clothing, and so on. Now this is cool and all, but oh boy, this game has the absolute worst menu ever created in gaming history. I have games with horrible menus, but nothing can top this. Basically the entire game takes place in a big main menu that you can access at any time, this menu has various things to go to, and each one of these have completely different controls to navigate, and many have their own menus which take different buttons to navigate, and so on. Its basically like coming up with five ways to control a menu screen, then choosing all five ways and making each way control some tiny fragmented aspect of the screen while navigating three menus at once. Its an absolute train wreck and I have no idea how this was approved and can’t fathom how anyone could have looked at it and say it was good enough for release. It might seem like I’m exaggerating but it really is that bad.

    There are also some glitches I noticed. One is that my character was stuck as the default model. I made a female character, but the hands I saw during gameplay were obviously that of the default male model and there was nothing I could do to get this to work. I also had my line glitch when I accidentally messed up my cast, the line being glitched made it impossible to access the menus and I had to exit the entire game. Also occasionally the bobber doesn’t do the submersion animation and I suddenly just get told I lost the catch.

    Graphics
    I’m personally more used to older games, so the graphics on this really blew me away. The scenery is beautiful and I especially love the look of everything at the late morning and noon time frame, everything is so vibrant and bright, and the water looks amazing. Great graphics all around.

    Music & Sound
    The game has basically a soundtrack of one song which appears in the menus. The song is fine but didn’t really stand out to me much. While fishing there’s quiet and calm nature sounds which really helps set in the realism. I prefer to put on some music while playing this game as it makes for a relaxing experience.

    Overall
    Overall, I feel this game was poorly executed. A great effort into time and weather mechanics, realism in less savory aspects, but then gameplay that was lacking did not make for the best experience. I decided to rate this a 2/5 because there are some good sides to it. If you enjoy the fishing in it, you can easily fish forever in the basic lake as you can purchase a lot of basic bait for very cheap. I am also sure this game probably improves somewhat if you dedicate a ton of time to purchasing all of the permanent lake licenses and can actually play the game. But, I feel like a game should be fun right off the bat, and not something you have to strive for. All in all, this is a free game, if you’re interested check it out, but I highly suggest really trying it and taking my warnings before you hook, line, and sinker your time and money into it. This game just felt lacking to me though, and all the pay walls and conspiring to make players run out of money (both game money and real money) just made it a flop for me. Catch and release or face a 100 credit fine.

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